WMU News

Expert explores concept of personal well-being

Feb. 8, 2002

KALAMAZOO -- In the pursuit of happiness, many people subscribe to the lyrics of a popular Sheryl Crow song, "If it makes you happy / It can't be that bad." When it comes to personal well-being, however, a Western Michigan University philosopher says the real question is, "How do you define good?"

Dr. Insoo Hyun, WMU assistant professor of philosophy and associate director of the WMU Center for the Study of Ethics in Society, will offer a philosophical look at the motives behind what is good for individuals in his presentation "What Is Personal Well-Being?" Wednesday, Feb. 13. The discussion begins at 7 p.m. in Room 210 of the Bernhard Center and is a part of the winter lecture series sponsored by WMU's Center for the Study of Ethics in Society. It is free and open to the public.

The issue of what is good and how humans make that determination is considered a hot topic in the philosophical world. Hyun plans to critique some of the prevailing theories about personal well-being and the hedonistic views that power the notion of having good things in life equals goodness for people.

"Ultimately it boils down to a philosophical meaning of well-being," says Hyun. "Everyone has a list of things that they believe are good for them. But the question is, what makes that good for you? Why did you choose those things to be on your list?"

Hyun's current research explores some of the more robust current and standard views of personal well-being. This also will be one of topics of a graduate seminar on medical ethics that Hyun will teach next winter.

For more information, contact the WMU Center for the Study of Ethics in Society at (269) 387-4397 or Hyun at (269) 387-3113.

Media contact: Scott K. Crary, 269 387-8400, scott.crary@wmich.edu

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